This afternoon President Obama will meet with members of the cabinet to give him an update on preparedness and response efforts surrounding the 2009 H1N1 flu virus in the Oval Office. Participants will include White House Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan, Secretaries Sebelius, Napolitano, Duncan and Locke, and Center for Disease Control Director Tom Frieden. In the evening, the President will host a dinner celebrating Ramadan and highlight the contributions of American Muslims in the State Dining Room of the White House.
At the beginning of the meeting this afternoon, the President will be making remarks about reports showing growth in manufacturing, for first time in 18 months.
When asked if the President has successfully managed to change the name from swineflu to H1N1, Gibbs said that the administration is more concerned about how to respond to it, rather than what you call it. There have been special PSAs using Elmo from Sesame Street, to help get the message out to school children about effectively combating H1N1.
The White House has heard reports of Iran’s updated nuclear proposal but not seen anything conclusive. Gibbs said that they still have not responded to the offer from P5+1 from back in April. Political leaders of P5+1 meet this week in Frankfurt to discuss the Iranian nuclear weapons program. The hope and goal is that the Iranians will live up to their international obligations, Gibbs said.
President continues to work to make progress in September and throughout the fall, but there is no specific announcements to be made.
Wild Fires in California:
The White House is carefully monitoring the situation and regularly updates the President on what is happening. The President and First Lady have sent their condolences to the families of the two firefighters that have died in the line of duty.
When asked it this will be more vacation time for the President or if he will have meetings, Gibbs responded that he will bring some form of the McCrystal report with him, which concluded that he should receive parts of it by tomorrow. So far the report is still classified and there is no plan of de-classifying parts of it for public release. When asked if the President plans to respond to the report, Gibbs said that the President is getting daily updates from Afghanistan. President Obama has regular contact with Ambassadors Holbrook and Eikenberry, and General Petreus something that started already during the transition.
When asked about the sense that there is a lack of urgency, Gibbs said that this is an ongoing conversation and that the President is dealing with this every day, seven days a week.
“The notion that there is no urgency from this Administration couldn’t be further from the truth.”